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How to remove rust scaling from inside pipes

Updated February 21, 2017

Rust is a common problem in plumbing. Oxidation can eat away at metal pipes and possibly result in a leak. Regular maintenance can help prevent rust from building up inside a pipe, but this requires removal of the pipe for cleaning. Removing rust scaling from inside pipes requires some basic tools and cleaning chemicals.

Turn off the water going to the pipe and unscrew the pipe with a wrench so you can access the inside. Place a container under the pipe to collect any water that comes out of the pipe as you remove it.

Mix a rust and scale removal chemical with water in a container as recommended by the instructions. Some chemicals will not require diluting while others recommend adding water prior to use. Wear rubber gloves to prevent skin exposure.

Submerge the pipe in the rust removal solution for at least 15 minutes to allow the solution time to soak into the rust on the inside of the pipe. Wait longer if recommended.

Insert a metal pipe cleaning brush in the pipe and vigorously move it in and out of the pipe to scrape away rust.

Continue submerging and scraping the pipe until the rust and scale deposits are removed from the inside of the pipe. Reattach the pipe and turn the water valve back on.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Container for excess water
  • Rust and scale removal chemical
  • Rubber gloves
  • Metal pipe cleaning brush
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About the Author

Michael Davidson started writing screenplays in 2003 and has had a screenplay professionally produced. He has also studied martial arts since 1990 and has worked as a licensed security specialist. Davidson has written articles for various websites. He is a graduate of Michigan State University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising.